S'Dandi Shih Tzu
All Rights Reserved
2000 - 2008
Sally and Dick Watkeys
8235 Outer Drive South
Traverse City, MI 49684
Graphics courtesy of:
S'Dandi Shih Tzu
Just BePaws . . .
It started out just like any other trip. Plans had been made, things loaded, dogs ready and in their crates. They were off.

They had done this same thing thousands of times before. This was nothing special or out of the ordinary, just another trip. It could have been to a dog show as they were Malamute people who were actively showing, breeding and judging. It was, however, to an antique marble convention. Laura had become interested in marbles of late. This was the first big convention they had planned to attend.

Things went as expected. The day was beautiful; they chatted as they drove. Laura was reading a magazine. John was driving as usual. Then, the unexpected happened. A car traveling the opposite direction turned abruptly in the unauthorized turnaround at high speed. Without stopping or looking, the driver hit the sign, ricocheted and flew into their van. John didnít even see it coming. Their van flipped three times before coming to rest upside down in the ditch on the other side of the freeway. Things seemed motionless for a time. Laura, hanging upside down in the seatbelts, wiggled her fingers and toes. They worked, amazingly enough. There was no sound from John.

Emergency crews cut them both out of the van. As Laura lay strapped to the gurney, she asked about the dogs. Someone said, ďa couple kids are walking them.Ē Then, the big question, ďWhereís John?Ē No one answered. They were both taken to the local hospital. Laura was lucky to be alive. The van was totaled. Emergency crews didnít understand how anyone survived this accident. Now, came the tests-cat scans, x-rays, exams and questions. The biggest one was where are John and the dogs?

Finally, some officers entered the room. In plain, unemotional language, Laura learned that John had been killed instantly. The dogs had been taken to the local shelter and would be waiting for her. That she and the dogs survived was nothing short of a miracle. Thank God for seatbelts and crates!!! If the dogs hadnít been contained in their crates, they would have become like missiles flying around the van as it flipped and careened. They would have been killed and could have done real damage to the passenger as they shot through the air. The crates were rendered unsalvageable, but the dogs were fine except for a few bruises. The crates had served their purpose well.

How many times have we taken a trip with our beloved animal just sitting on the seat beside us? Iím as guilty as anyone. Itís just to the store, the cleaners or the gas station. What could possibly happen? It only takes a moment for a tragedy such as this to occur. Had these Mals not been crated, they would have been killed with John. Laura would have been bringing home 3 dead bodies. No one can predict when such a freak accident will happen. No one can tell us when our time here on earth is up. We can, however, do everything in our power to protect our animals and ourselves. Buckle up! If Laura hadnít been wearing her seatbelt, she would have been another victim. If the dogs hadnít been crated, they would be at the ďRainbow Bridge.Ē John didnít have a chance. His side of the van was flattened leaving no headroom. Now, itís up to Laura and those of us who knew and loved John to send the message out to other dog owners. Put those animals you love so much in a safe place when driving. Take the time to load a crate, kennel kab or attach a seat restraint of some kind to keep them safe. They love us enough to give their lives for us. Do we love them enough to restrain them safely in the car? Itís your decisionÖ
In Memory
John Swire